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May 6, 2021

Remembering Kenya Barona through a BERT Donation

The tragic loss of Kenya Barona has prompted her family to make a financial contribution to the Belize Emergency Response Team in her memory.  Kenya died of natural causes several weeks ago.  Her loved ones maintained that negligence played a significant role in her untimely demise and blamed BERT for not doing enough to respond promptly.  After learning of the challenges that the ambulance service faces, Kenya’s mother and aunt decided to raise funds to donate to the organization.

 

Josephine Flowers, Aunt of Deceased

“Today would have been my niece’s thirty-fifth birthday.  She is no longer with us and we had made an earlier pledge that we would do something to support BERT in whichever way we could.  So this afternoon, we presented BERT with a check for two thousand, eight hundred, plus dollars which we want them to put to good use.”

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

On hand to receive the donation was Andre Carillo.  He is the Executive Director of Belize Emergency Response Team.  Notwithstanding the generous contribution, Carillo says that emergency response begins with a distress call to BERT.

 

Andre Carillo, Executive Director, BERT

“Emergency medical services starts when you call BERT and so we ask that when you call us directly that you ensure that the person that calls us is able to provide all the information that we need to render assistance to you.”

 

The monies gifted to BERT will be used to secure a dedicated line for the ambulance service since there have been occasions when there is difficulty getting through with the 911 dispatch.

 

Josephine Flowers

Josephine Flowers

“We also believe that BERT should be given a direct line so that people can get BERT when they need BERT.  They don’t have to go through any other call center or station, they should be able to contact BERT directly so that they can respond in a timely manner to other people.  The first thing we want them to do with it is to provide some sort of human resource training for their employees so that they would know how to respond to questions being asked quickly and provide us with information that we need at critical times, especially in times of emergency.”

 

The move to secure a dedicated line is something that Carillo has long been clamoring for.

 

Andre Carillo

Andre Carillo

“We had reached out to Digicel more than a year ago to ask them for a direct line more than a year ago, a 911 sort of call for us and we’ve asked them to donate a 2378 which is BERT.  That’s an easy number to remember and so we will be talking to them and the other phone company to be able to provide that to us.  SMART responded and provided us with a toll free number and it’s 0-800-911-BERT, that’s 0-800-911-2378.”

 

As the family of Kenya Barona continues to grieve her loss, Sharon Flowers Garbutt is thankful for the public assistance they have received.

 

Sharon Flowers Garbutt

Sharon Flowers Garbutt, Mother of Deceased

“I would just like to say a big thank you to everybody who donated. Thank you very much, it was well-appreciated.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


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